There are so many ways in which this election is like no other before. But I want a focus on the area of most concern to pro-life and Catholic voters. Donald Trump ran for president with no previous voting record. And for Catholic and pro-life voters, that was a concern. After all, many of Donald Trump’s previous public statements from his short-lived 2000 presidential run were in favor of abortion.
So during the campaign, Donald Trump had to go to great lengths to convince pro-life and Catholic voters that he was serious about fighting for religious liberty and the unborn. Many people, including those here at CatholicVote, were very skeptical. All too often Catholic voters have been burned by politicians who promise to be on our side, only to abandon us after the election.
But it won’t take that long to know if Donald Trump is serious about his promises to Catholic voters.
Here are five things to watch:
Supreme Court nomination — We don’t have to wait long on this at all. There’s already a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Trump promised to appoint only someone from the two lists of potential nominees that he already published. Every one on that list would make an excellent Supreme Court Justice. And why would Trump backstab us on this? There are protests against Donald Trump going on in cities across the country. The ACLU’s website crashed because so many liberals were donating after the group said to Trump: “We’ll see you in court.” It would be politically stupid for Donald Trump to start his presidency by picking a fight with the very people who just elected him by nominating a squish to the Court.
Cabinet appointments – Personnel is policy. Remember, Barack Obama picked strident abortion supporter Kathleen Sibelius to head up the Department of Health and Human Services. So far, Trump’s most important selection has been Vice President-Elect Mike Pence. And selecting Pence was the strongest assurance that Trump was serious about his pro-life views. So for his Cabinet, the most important Cabinet pick will be the Department of Health and Human Services. But we’ll also be watching who he selects to lead the Justice Department.
Roe v. Wade anniversary – The anniversary of Roe v. Wade will be on the third day of Trump’s new term. How will he mark the occasion? George W. Bush literally “phoned it in.” He called the March for Life by telephone — even though the crowd was about 200 feet from his residence. Could you imagine if President Trump actually showed up at the March for Life rally? That would be a huge sign that he was dead serious about being pro-life. Or maybe he’ll chose that day to announce his nominee for the Supreme Court? Either way, the anniversary is an early test for Trump. Will he use it to help promote the pro-life cause?
Sign the repeal of Obamacare – Expect the Republican House and Senate to quickly pass repeal of Obamacare, and send that legislation to President Trump’s desk. There was speculation that Republicans wouldn’t go through with repeal once a Republican got elected to the White House because the American people would be upset to see the legislation go away. But let’s be honest. Millions of Americans received notices in late October that due to Obamacare their health care premiums would be going up by hundred of dollars a month. Democrats can complain about FBI Director James Comey, but this Obamacare sticker shock is likely the real reason that Donald Trump won a surprising victory on Election Day.
Restore religious liberty – Donald Trump promised to sign the First Amendment Defense Act or similar religious liberty legislation if it reached his desk. It will not be easy to get the Senate to pass legislation protecting religious liberty, but it’s still needed. But we don’t need the Senate to get rid of the HHS mandate that tried to force the Little SIsters of the Poor to pay for abortion pills. After all, President Donald Trump can abolish the HHS mandate on his first day in office with one stroke of his pen.
So if Trump goes rogue and doesn’t fulfill his pledge to Catholic voters, we will know right away.
There are some who remain pessimistic that Trump will pick someone like David Souter for the Supreme Court. But when George W. Bush nominated Harriet Miers, we didn’t roll over and simply go along with that disastrous pick — no matter how much the President “vouched” for her. And after we defeated that nomination, we rallied for Samuel Alito, who has been outstanding on the Supreme Court.
We remain committed to the principles of faith, family, and freedom. And these are winning issues. After all, those are the very issues that propelled Donald Trump to the White House.
We look forward to working with our new president on these principles.